How Elijah Points to Jesus: Further Reflections on 1 Kings 18

Yesterday I had the privilege of preaching at Park Community Church from 1 Kings 18 on the story of an ancient prophet of Yahweh’s confrontation with the pagan prophets of a false god. It was the latest installment of our “Great Stories” series.

This story, in which the wild man Elijah calls down the fire of the Lord, slaughters the treasonous Baal prophets and launches a revival in the nation of Israel, has always fascinated me. I even adapted it into a short story in my junior-year English class at Glenbard East High School (looking back, there was probably something close to plagiarism going on there, in how closely I followed the biblical narrative).

Over the years, I have become borderline obsessed with the idea that every story in the Tanakh (AKA the Hebrew Scriptures, AKA the Old Testament) points forward to Jesus Christ and the New Covenant in some way. Of course I did not invent this idea; it is as old as the Bible itself. Nevertheless, this Christocentric approach to Scripture study now has me asking about every OT story, in a way that I never did as a high schooler or for years afterward, the question, “How does this point to Jesus?”

Until I wrote this sermon (here’s the transcript), I had never really studied 1 Kings 18 with that question in mind. So it was a real joy to do so. Here’s what I came up with.

  1. Elijah proclaims repentance to Israel – Much like the later “Elijah” (John the Baptist) would do, he prepares the hearts of Israel for an encounter with the Lord. For Elijah, it was the Yahweh who would show His power on Mount Carmel. For John the Baptist, it was Yahweh-in-the-flesh, the man Christ Jesus, who saved His people on Mount Calvary.
  2. Elijah preached that God’s people should follow Him alone – Jesus too warned against trying to serve two masters (Matthew 6:24) and insisted that, “No one who “puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
  3. Elijah offered a sacrifice, and God accepted it – The Lord vindicated His servant Elijah by sending a bolt out of the blue and burning up his sacrifice. Nine centuries later, He accepted a far greater sacrifice for sin and vindicated His Son, by raising Him from the dead.
  4. Elijah’s altar of twelve stones expressed a desire for God’s people to be unified – God’s people (which meant the 12 tribes of Israel in Elijah’s day) were meant to be together, not split up into multiple kingdoms (which they were at that time). In Christ, people from every ethnicity, culture and kingdom are united (Galatians 3:28).
  5. Elijah’s revival was temporary, showing the need for a greater revival – Under the Old Covenant, Israel’s returns to God (as in 1 Kings 18) never involved the whole nation, and they were temporary, because most of their hearts did not change. This story accentuates the need for the New Covenant in Christ’s blood, in which all God’s elect people will know Him, and they will serve Him with new hearts forever.

It is amazing to set back and think about the privileged place in history in which we live. The promises of the Old Testament are fulfilled in Christ, and we can see in hi-def what OT believers saw only in types and shadows. From Genesis to Malachi, the Hebrew Scriptures are all about the Messiah to come. Starting next month, we will launch our new series, all about what it means to live together as followers of said Messiah, as the church.

What other ways do you see the “great story” of Elijah on Mount Carmel pointing to the greatest story ever, i.e. the Gospel? Feel free to share any insights in the comments.

Some Further Reflections on Joseph’s Story

Over the last several weeks at Park Community Church, we have been hearing the stories from the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament) that point to the greatest story of all–God’s plan to redeem His people through Jesus Christ. As the most recent “episode” of the “Great Stories” series at the Forest Glen church, we heard a message from Pastor Steve Coble on the story of Joseph from the book of Genesis, chapters 37 – 50.

Here are a few of my takeaways from the message:

1. Every evil and tragic thing that happened in Joseph’s life was not only used by God, but actually intended by God for Joseph’s eventual good. God did not merely “use” the trouble and tragedy in Joseph’s life, as though He was working out a Plan B. Rather, it turns out He actually had a plan from the beginning that superseded all the evil intentions of the “villains” in the story.

Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. The wife of Potiphar, Joseph’s master, falsely accused him of sexual assault. In prison, Joseph was forgotten and left to rot, by someone he had helped. And yet every single one of these seeming misfortunes was a stepping stone toward Joseph’s final promotion (to second in command of the whole kingdom!) and reconciliation with his family.

Even the famine that struck the region worked out for good, as it brought Joseph’s brothers and father to him. God’s sovereign plan often has, worked into it, evil people doing evil things. He does this in order to show that He is in complete, sovereign control. His creatures will freely choose to do wrong, but God is greater than our plans.

He is totally good, and He is in total control. The same is true in your life today. If you love God and have been called according to His purpose, then God is working all things in your life together for good–to make you more like Jesus and unite you to Him as His brother or sister (Romans 8:28-30).

2. Joseph’s story had implications that stretched far beyond his own lifetime. Joseph himself became a pattern of the Messiah who would come–namely Jesus. Jesus was betrayed by his own people into the hands of evil men, falsely accused, and punished as an innocent man. And like Joseph (though infinitely more significantly) Jesus was vindicated–raised from the dead!–and promoted to the most exalted position in the kingdom.

The story of Joseph and his brothers is one chapter in the grand story God wrote in history, leading to the conclusion in which Jesus Christ rescues His people from calamity and establishes his righteous reign. In fact, Jesus is reigning now, and possesses “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). Right now you may be on the wrong side of His reign–not yet submitted to Him–but you can be reconciled to God, just as Joseph’s brothers were reconciled to him, by admitting you are a sinner and repenting to God, trusting in Jesus as Savior and King.

3. I can stop worrying, and so can you. Joseph’s story, and the Gospel to which it points, powerfully conveys that God has a good plan, He is in control of our circumstances in order to bring about that plan, and His plan is good for us. If God can bring His Son back from the dead (and He did), and if God has promised everlasting life to those who trust in Jesus (and He has), and if He will be with us always (and He will), then what is there to worry about?

I tend to worry about my children–that I will fail them as a father. No doubt Joseph’s father, Israel (the name God gave to Jacob and where the nation of Israel gets its name), felt like a failure on that day that his sons reported that Joseph had been killed. But God was in control, working out His plan. Israel saw the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (cf. Psalm 27:13), and he realized the truth: God is able to use the worst tragedies to bring about redemption and rescue.

Joseph’s story is a great story, and it doesn’t end with Him. It continues on to the Messiah and through Messiah to his people. Are you one of His people? Trust in Him!

What About Those Who Don’t Believe in God?

As I prepare for tomorrow’s message on the book of Jonah–the man who was plunged into the abyss, into the belly of a giant fish, and returned after three days–one concept has really shocked me. In this incredible (though not un-credible) story, there are two groups of people who become worshipers of the Lord, namely the polytheist sailors and the wicked citizens of Nineveh, who had previously been the furthest thing from believers. And yet, it is clear from the story that God actually expected their worship. He deserved it. They owed Him worship.

There is no sense, from Scripture, that worship of the Lord is something optional, or that God only certain people to worship Him, or that He only wants to be known, glorified and enjoyed by people who currently adhere to a particular religion.

God is the God of everyone He has created. And He has created everyone. He is even the God of those who don’t believe in Him. (Or at least, they claim to believe in Him. Whether anyone can truly be an atheist is an issue for another time. Spoiler alert: they can’t.)

These theme of the universality of God’s worship-worthiness continues on into the New Testament, in which Jesus is said to be the Savior, not only of certain people, but of the whole world (see 1 John 2:2 and 4:14). That is to say, there is only one God, and One who goes between God and man, to make peace between us.

Like the pagan sailors and the Ninevites in the book of Jonah, you, me, and everyone we know owe our allegiance to the one true God.

This is difficult, because there are many religious systems out there claiming to be true, and insofar as they deny the Gospel, they are therefore all wrong (see the recent controversy with Senator Bernie Sanders and presidential appointee).

However, it is also wonderful news (the word Gospel means “good news”), because there is a sure way to God. There aren’t multiple ways, but that’s okay, because there aren’t multiple gods. There is only one. And He has given us a way. That way is through faith in Jesus (John 1:12).

This Gospel is the message that Christians must take to our family, friends and neighbors: there is one true God. He made us, and we owe Him everything. We’ve been refusing Him the worship He deserves, and we’ve earned His punishment (that’s why God sent Jonah to Nineveh in the first place!). Rescue from that punishment comes through faith in the one who was plunged into the abyss of death and returned to the land of the living after three days. Not Jonah, but Jesus. Do you know Him? Whom will you tell?

Advanced Christianity

The (anonymous) author of the biblical Letter to the Hebrews spends 9 1/2 chapters laying down the basics of the Christian faith. He meticulously proves that Jesus Christ is better than everything else, and that He is the only rational ground for confidence in life regarding what truly matters.

Then, in chapter 10, having established the absolute supremacy and utter trustworthiness of Jesus Christ, the author decides it is time to move on from the basics. Note that he is not “moving away” from the Gospel. Rather, he is demonstrating some of the implications of the Gospel being true. In other words, it’s not, “You’ve got the Gospel, now let’s put that aside and get to the meaty stuff,” but rather: “You’ve got the Gospel, now let’s really dig in and see what your life will look like as you grow in that truth.”

So here are four components of “Advanced Christianity” according to Hebrews 10:19-35

  1. Draw near to God with a true heart and full assurance of your faith (verses 19-22).
  2. Hold fast the confession of your hope without wavering (verse 23).
  3. Be thinking about how to stir up one another toward love and good works, encouraging one another (verses 24-31).
  4. Do not throw away your confidence (32-35).

If the Lord wills it, and I’m still alive this Sunday, we’ll dig into this passage at Grace Pointe Plainfield and explain just why these four things are so important–and the terrifying consequences of ignoring God’s incredible rescue plan.

Spiritual Progress (An Outline of 2 Peter 1:3-11)

Translation:

3 As His divine power has bestowed to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of the one who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 through which he has bestowed to us the valuable and exceedingly great promise, in order that through these you all may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the ruin that is in the world because of lust. 5 And in the same way, but introducing simultaneously all earnestness, supply in your faith excellence, and in excellence knowledge, 6 and in knowledge temperance, and in temperance endurance, and in endurance godliness, 7 and in godliness brotherly affection, and in brotherly affection love. 8 For these coming into existence for you and increasing, are making you neither useless nor fruitless in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For the one to whom these things are not at hand, he is blind, being nearsighted, being struck with forgetfulness of the cleansing of his former sins. 10 Consequently, brothers, be diligent to make your calling and election stable, for, doing these things, you may by no means ever stumble. 11 For in this way it will be richly supplied to you—the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Outline: 

  1. (3-4) His divine power has bestowed to us all things that pertain to life and godliness
    1. bestowed through the knowledge of the one
      1. who called us to his own glory and excellence.
        1. through which excellence he has bestowed to us the valuable and exceedingly great promises
          1. He has bestowed in order that through these you all may become partakers of the divine nature
            1. become partakers having escaped the ruin
              1. the ruin that is in the world because of lust.
  2. (5-7) And in the same way, but at the same time introducing all earnestness, supply…
    1. supply excellence in your faith
    2. and supply in excellence, knowledge
    3. and supply in knowledge, self-control (temperance)
    4. and supply in self-control, endurance
    5. and supply in endurance, godliness
    6. and supply in godliness, brotherly affection
    7. and supply in brotherly affection, love.
  3. (8) For these things… make you neither useless nor fruitless in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    1. …as they come into existence for you…
    2. …and as they increase…
  4. (9) For the one to whom these things are not at hand, he is blind,
    1. being nearsighted,
    2. being struck with forgetfulness of the cleansing of his former sins.
  5. (10) Doing these things will assure you of your calling and election.
    1. Consequently, brothers, be diligent to make your calling and election stable.
    2. For you may by no means ever stumble.
      1. as you do these things
  6. (11) For in this way it will be richly supplied to you—the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Commentary: 

God has given us everything we need to live a godly life. He is powerful enough to do that. And the means by which He gives us everything we need is the knowledge of himself. He has called us–not just to a “good” life–to his own glory and excellence. His goal is that we actually share in the divine nature. The alternative to this glorious future is being dragged back down into the world and its destruction. The world brings about its own ruin, because of its self-destructive lusts. Christians are called to remember that they have been saved from that destruction. We have been called by God, chosen by Him, and He has set us apart from the world. Because that is true, we may live in a godly way–which, when practically lived out, looks a bit like climbing a ladder–from faith all the way up to spiritual maturity in love. Note that the upward progression is not what saves a person. Rather, it is how a saved person may be assured of his salvation. To fail to live this way is to fall back into sin–how could we forget that God has cleansed us from our sins! Let’s not go back and live like we haven’t been cleansed.

Application: 

Do I really believe that God has given me everything needed to live in a godly way? Am I actively pursuing godliness–striving toward experiencing and manifesting the same love that God has bestowed upon me in His power? Do I hope for the resurrection and the glory that I will share with God? May I seek today to live with humble thankfulness to the Lord, for choosing me, for washing me in Christ Jesus, and for promising me a glorious future. And may I demonstrate to others the love that He has lavished upon me–that others may come to experience God’s salvation, washing, and love for themselves.

Helping One Another in God’s Household (A Sermon Skeleton of Titus 3:12-14)

Translation:

12 When I may send Artemas or Tychicus to you, endeavor to come to me in Nicopolis. For I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Promptly send on their way Zenas the lawyer and Apollos, in order that nothing may be lacking for them. 14 But our people are also to learn to practice good works for necessary needs, in order that they may not be unfruitful.

Outline of main points and subpoints:

  1. (12) Endeavor to come to me in Nicopolis
    1. Endeavor when I send Artemas or Tychicus to you
    2. Endeavor for I have decided to spend the winter there (in Nicopolis).
  2. (13) Send on their way Zenas the lawyer and Apollos
    1. Send them
    2. Send them in order that nothing may be lacking for them.
  3. (14) But our people are to learn also to practice good works for necessary needs
    1. They are to learn in order that they may not be unfruitful.

Commentary:

Paul mentions his companions by name. This pastor was friends with his people, and he desired that they learn the things that would keep them from being ineffective for Christ’s kingdom. Paul himself was a living example of godly fruitfulness. He knew what it meant to practice good works that met people’s needs. He instructs Titus to practice the same, when he gives him instructions for Zenas and Apollos (Titus is to fully equip them), and he instructs Titus to teach this practice to the rest of the congregation—indeed this is something for the whole Church.

Application:

As a pastor, I need to do what I can to meet the necessary needs of God’s people. I should practice this, instruct other leaders to practice this, and teach the congregation to practice this as well. The goal is to be fruitful for the kingdom.

Knowledge is good by itself; but knowledge put into action—helping others meet their needs—that is productivity and progress. Who will I reach out to in assistance today? Even just to let them know I am praying for them?

Focused Teaching in God’s Household (A Sermon Skeleton of Titus 3:1-11)

Translation:

1 Remind them to submit to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to slander no one, to be non-brawling, gentle, demonstrating every meekness to all people. 3 For we ourselves also were once unwise, disobedient, being led astray, being enslaved to lusts and various desires, passing our days in malice and jealousy, hated, despising one another. 4 But when the kindness and benevolence of God our Savior was revealed, 5 not from works which we did in righteousness 6 but according to His mercy, He saved us 7 through washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He bestowed upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 in order that , being justified in his grace, we may become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 The saying is trustworthy, and concerning these things I want you to constantly affirm, in order that they who are entrusted to God may be careful to practice good works. 9 But avoid stupid disputes and genealogies and quarrels and fights about the law, for they are unprofitable and vain. 10 A heretical person, after one and then a second admonition, shun, 11 knowing that such a one is perverted and sinful, being self-condemned.

  1. Important Doctrine Defined
    1. (1-2) Remind them
      1. to submit to rulers and authorities
      2. to obey
      3. to be ready for every good work
      4. to slander no one
      5. to be peaceable, gentle
      6. demonstrating complete humility to all people.
    2. (3) For we ourselves were also once…
      1. Unwise
      2. Disobedient
      3. Led astray
      4. Enslaved to lusts and various desires
      5. Leading life in malice and jealousy
      6. Hated
      7. Despising one another.
    3. (4-7) But…He saved us.
      1. He saved us When the kindness and benevolence of God our Savior was revealed
      2. He saved us Not because of works
        1. Which we did in righteousness
      3. Rather He saved us according to His mercy
      4. He saved us Through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit
        1. Whom He bestowed upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior
          1. In order that…we may become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
            1. Being justified in His grace
  1. (8) Encouragement to Preach Important Doctrine
    1. The saying is trustworthy.
    2. And concerning these things I want you to insist
      1. Insist In order that the they… may be careful to practice good works
        1. …(they) who have trusted God
      2. These things are good and profitable for people.
    3. (9-11) Dealing with Distractions and Schismatics
      1. But avoid…
        1. Stupid disputes
        2. And genealogies
        3. And quarrels
        4. And fights about the law
      2. For they are unprofitable and pointless.
      3. A heretical person, after a first and second admonition, shun him.
        1. Shun him Knowing
          1. that such a person is perverted and sinful
            1. He is being self-condemned.

Commentary:

The preacher is to remind his congregation to live gently, submissive to the earthly authorities. Christians, we are not to be rabble-rousers looking for a fight. We, above all people, should be humble and gracious.

After all, remember what you used to be! We were not chosen because we were better than anyone else. Au contraire—we were sinning with the worst of them! In fact, we in the church used to hate one another and be hated by one another!

And yet, when we were in our sinful state, God saved us. He didn’t save us because of our righteous works. He saved us because of His love for humanity. He washed us and made us new people. Through Jesus Christ (who is our God and Savior) the Father endowed us with His Holy Spirit. God even went so far as to adopt us into His own royal family, making us His own heirs!

These things—that is, proper Christian behavior, human depravity, and unconditional election and salvation—these are what the preacher is to focus on.

Here is what not to focus on: stupid controversies, genealogies (trying to show who was truly “in” and who was “out”), quarrels and fights about the Old Covenant Law—these things are unprofitable for the Christian. They are pointless. We are under grace, not law. We were saved because of God’s love, not because we somehow earned it. We didn’t earn it. We earned nothing—salvation is all of grace .

If someone is out there dividing the church and causing schism, give him three strikes. Warn him once. Then warn him again. Then, kick him out. Do so knowing that such a person—who wouldn’t stop even after the church leadership warned him twice!—has gone astray and been corrupted by sin. He condemns himself by his own heresy.

Serving with Hope in God’s Household (A Sermon Skeleton of Titus 2:9-15)

Titus 2:9-15 (Author’s Translation)

9 Slaves are to be subjugated to their own masters in all things, to be acceptable, not contradicting, 10 not embezzling, rather demonstrating all good faithfulness, in order that they may adorn the doctrine—that of our savior God—in all things. 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people, 12 educating us in order that, denying ungodliness and wordly lusts, we may live in the present age, soberly and righteously and piously, 13 looking forward to the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself on behalf of us, in order that he may redeem us from all lawlessness and cleanse for himself a particular people—zealous for good works. 15 Speak these things and exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Outline of major and minor points

  1. (9-10) Slaves are to be subjugated to their own masters in all things (This applies to all employees, servants, etc.)
    1. What submission looks like: Slaves are to be
      1. (be) Acceptable
      2. Not (be) contradicting
      3. Not (be) embezzling
      4. Rather (be) demonstrating all good faithfulness
        1. Why slaves choose to live this way: (Demonstrating) in order that they may adorn the doctrine—that of our Savior God—in all things
  2. (11-14) For the grace of God has appeared!
    1. God’s grace has appeared, bringing salvation to all people
    2. God’s grace has appeared, educating us
      1. The goal of studying at “Grace Academy”: The grace of God educates us in order that… we may live in the present age
        1. (live) denying ungodliness and worldly lusts
        2. (live) soberly
        3. and (live) righteously
        4. and (live) godly
        5. (live) looking forward to the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ
          1. He gave himself on behalf of us
            1. He gave himself in order that he may…
              1. He gave himself to redeem us from all lawlessness
              2. And He gave Himself to cleanse for himself a particular people zealous for good works
  3. (15) Preach it!
    1. Speak these things
    2. And exhort and rebuke with all authority.
    3. Let no one disregard you.

Notes

Slaves, servants and employees are to live and work in an honest way. In doing this, they give the Gospel a good reputation—just look how their lives have been changed by it!

In fact, God’s grace has appeared not just to slaves but to all kinds of people. These are the people Jesus died to “purchase” for Himself. What incredible grace—he came particularly for you!

Focus on the grace you have received, and look forward to the glorious hope we have that Jesus Christ will appear again in glory. With your eyes set on that hope, live in a way that gives your God and Savior a good reputation.

Dealing with Greedy Legalists in God’s Household (Titus 1:10-16)

Translation:

(10) For there are also many insubordinate ones, empty-talkers and deceivers (especially out of “the Circumcision”), (11) whom it is necessary to silence, which persons undermine whole households, by teaching what they must not, on account of filthy gain.

(12) A certain one from them said—a prophet of their own, “Cretans are always liars, worthless beasts, lazy gluttons.” (13) This testimony is true. Rebuke them sharply because of this crime, in order that they may be healthy in the faith, (14) not paying attention to Jewish fables and commandments of men that pervert the truth.

(15) All things clean for the clean! But for they who are contaminated and unfaithful, nothing is clean. Rather they are defiled in both their understanding and conscience. (16) They confess to understand God, but their works contradict, being abominable and disobedient and unapproved for every good work.

Outline:

  1. (10-11) For there are also many insubordinate ones, empty talkers and deceivers, especially from “the Circumcision”
    1. (11) It is necessary to silence them.
    2. These persons undermine entire households
      1. They undermine by teaching
        1. They are teaching what they must not.
        2. They are teaching for the sake of filthy gain.
      2. (12-14) Rebuke false teachers to promote sound doctrine.
        1. A certain one from them—one of their own prophets—said,
          1. Cretans are always….
            1. Liars
            2. Worthless beasts
            3. Lazy gluttons
          2. (13) This testimony is true.
          3. Rebuke them sharply because of this crime.
            1. The purpose of rebuking them is that they may be healthy in the faith
              1. (14) Healthy in the faith, they may not be paying attention to Jewish fables and commandments of men
                1. Jewish fables and commandments of men pervert the truth
  • (15)
    1. All things are clean for the clean!
    2. But for the contaminated and unfaithful, nothing is clean
    3. Rather, they are contaminated in both their mind and conscience.
    4. To know God they profess, but in their works they deny.
      1. They are
        1. Abominable
        2. And disobedient
        3. And unapproved for every good work.

Notes: 

While some are fit to be overseers, some others are very unfit—especially those of the so-called Circumcision group. Their false teaching leads to the fall of whole families. Their true goal is self-promotion and profit—they don’t even really care about holiness!

 The job of Titus is to look out for these false teachers who promote “supergodliness” by making people adhere to the Old Covenant Law—supplemented heavily by manmade traditions and requirements. When he sees this false teaching at work, he is to rebuke them sharply. The goal is for them to come around to sound doctrine.

 These legalists are always trying to force people to adhere to their standards of purity—but in calling everything impure, they are actually revealing that they themselves are impure. If Christ has made you clean, then you are clean and nothing is impure for you. So stop worrying about ritual defilement. Go out into the world—cling to the truth, promote it, and rebuke false teachers.

These false teachers put loads of manmade requirements on erstwhile Christians, but this is all a sham for them to gain followers, and by that profit and fame. These selfish, worthless beasts must be rebuked—but even then the goal in rebuking them is not to destroy them but rather to return them to the true faith.

Managing God’s Household (Titus 1:5-9)

Monk Reading Book

My translation of Titus 1:5-9, from the Greek text: 

(5) This is why I left you in Crete, in order for you to set in order what was remaining, and appoint elders in every city, just as I directed you, (6) if anyone is beyond criticism, a one-woman man, having faithful children, not in an accusation of reckless extravagance or insubordinate.  (7) For it is necessary for the overseer to be beyond criticism as a manager of God’s house, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not always around wine, not violent, not greedy for gain, (8) rather hospitable, a lover of good, soberminded, just, pure, self-controlled, (9) holding fast to the faithful word according to the doctrine, in order that he may be able to exhort in the teaching and to refute those who contradict it. 

Preaching “Skeleton” Outline

  1. (5) This is why I left you in Crete,
    1. I left you in order for you to…
      1. set in order
        1. To set in order what was remaining.
      2. and appoint elders in every city
        1. appoint elders just as I directed you.
        2. (6) appoint elders if anyone is…
          1. beyond criticism
          2. a one-woman man
          3. having faithful children
          4. if he is not…
            1. in an accusation of reckless extravagance
            2. or insubordinate
  2. (7) For it is necessary for the overseer to be…
    1. beyond criticism as a manager of God’s house
    2. not self-willed
    3. not quick-tempered
    4. not always near wine
    5. not violent
    6. not greedy for gain
    7. rather, hospitable,
    8. a lover of good
    9. soberminded
    10. just
    11. holy
    12. self-controlled
    13. (9) an overseer must be all this while holding fast to the trustworthy word, according to the teaching,
      1. holding fast to the word in order that he may be able…
        1.  to exhort in the healthy doctrine
        2. and to refute those who contradict (it).

Notes: 

  • The elder is the overseer. This is the same role. There is no distinction between “presbyter/priest” and “bishop,” as there is in the Roman Catholic system.
  • The overseer is to have certain, godly personal attributes. He must be of a godly character. In fact he must not even be open to accusation of being debaucherous or insubordinate. The idea is that, for a person to have authority, they must be subject to authority. Otherwise, they don’t desire just authority, they just want themselves to be the authority, because they only care about themselves. A just man recognizes his place in the world.
  • The overseer’s family is to be in order and faithful.
  • The role of an overseer is two-fold. He acts as a steward/caretaker of God’s house, the church. And he studies and holds forth the word, so that he may encourage and rebuke according to sound doctrine. The overseer’s job is not to come up with new teaching but to “hold fast” to “the teaching”–this implies that there is just one accepted body of Christian doctrine. We don’t need something new. God’s truth is eternal and doesn’t change. The overseer recognizes that and clings to it. The word of God is the standard by which he stewards God’s house.